Ireland has been a fairly cold, distant place for gay people for too long. It was only three years ago that the country had passed marriage equality through public vote, under the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution. An inspiring documentary about the history of LGBTQ rights, The 34th sensibly depicts the long road to marriage equality in the Irish state, as well as the touching love story between politician Katherine Zappone and theologian Ann Louise Gilligan.
It’s fairly easy to say that you’ve never seen a film quite like Good Manners. This Brazilian odyssey mixes elements of comedy, fantasy, horror and dark drama to tell a story that continually subverts expectations. It’s also made with a resonant sense of emotional depth that gets under the skin, so the story and characters become more involving as the movie gets increasingly bizarre.
Prejudice, discrimination and hatred do not have to lead to loss of innocence and bitterness. This is what Sidney & Friends sublimely showcases in its exquisite seventy-five minutes – a riveting, but peaceful and vulnerable account of what it means to be transgender and intersex in the crude social climate of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
For his writing-directing debut, actor Rupert Everett ambitiously recreates the final three years of Oscar Wilde’s life in a swirling, artistic odyssey. Everett has a lifelong interest in Wilde, including roles in films based on Wilde’s work and a series of TV documentary explorations of homosexuality in Victorian Britain. So in many ways The Happy Prince feels like the culmination of Everett’s life’s work.
Riveting and sincere, Anucha Boonyawatana’s powerful feature film bluntly, but calmly reminds us of the inescapable reality of death. From its roots as a chilling, complex concept to its nitty-gritty manifestation as a decaying, irrepressible force in the universe, Malila: The Farewell Flower looks at death from a variety of enlightening perspectives.
Wearing its queer credentials on its brightly coloured, ruffled sleeve, this flamboyant drama delivers a remarkably steely message about identity. It may be archly made by first-time feature director Trudie Styler (aka Mrs Sting), but it’s also beautifully anchored in another richly detailed, deeply committed performance from Alex Lawther.
Narrative is not needed to create an enthralling, one-of-a-kind story that keeps you glued to your screen. This is what Pedro Diogenes and Guto Parente’s mesmerizing feature film proves without a shadow of a doubt. My Own Private Hell (Inferninho) is a deliciously strange and visually stunning motion picture that oscillates between drama and impressively well-executed dark humor.
Antonio Lopez was one of the most influential people in the fashion world, although almost no one outside it has heard of him. And this documentary is designed to set the record straight, as it were. It’s a lively, skilfully assembled portrait of a vibrant artist whose life and work made an indelible mark not just within fashion circles but in pop culture at large.
Lies, shame and alienation are at the heart of Julia Solomonoff’s seductively tragic Nobody’s Watching, a tale of two identities which confronts the shortcomings of immigration policies head-on. Exposing the tantalizing brutality of iconic cities and the hostility of cliques and Procrustean social norms, the motion picture presents an unparalleled depiction of the Big Apple and its cutthroat nature.
The directorial debut of Monja Art is an angsty teen drama that seems perfectly engineered to speak to its target audience. Seventeen (Siebzehn) manages to convey the messiness of relationships during later teenage years, acknowledging the first glimpses of emotional trauma without reserving any judgement for the often reckless behaviour of the characters.